Blonde lace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Queen Adelaide wearing blonde lace, c. 1830

Blonde lace is a continuous bobbin lace from France that is made of silk. The term blonde refers to the natural color of the silk thread.[1] Originally this lace was made with the natural-colored silk, and later in black.[2] Most blonde lace was also made in black.[3] It was made in the 18th and 19th centuries.[2] The pattern, which is generally of flowers, is made with a soft silk thread, thicker than the thread used for the ground.[1][4] This causes a big contrast between the flowers and the ground.[4] It uses the same stitches as Chantilly lace and Lille lace,[4] and is similarly made in strips 5 inches wide and invisibly joined.[1][4] Blonde lace is not as good as Chantilly lace though, as the ground isn't as firm, nor is the pattern as regular.[3]

Blonde lace became very popular, and replaced Mechlin lace. It is very soft, and thus was well suited to the gathered trimmings fashionable during the nineteenth century.[1] Blonde lace was used by royalty, and was worn in the portraits of the daughter of George IV, Princess Charlotte in 1817, and of Queen Adelaide in 1830.[1] In 1805 blonde lace was popular in Paris.[3]

Blonde lace was made in Caen from 1744, in parts of Flanders, in Barcelona, and, in small quantities, in the east Midlands of England from about 1806.[1] It didn't suffer when other lacemakers were reduced to the brink of ruin in 1821 to 1832 by the introduction of machine-made bobbin net. In fact, the demand for blonde actually increased, and Caen exported great quantities, by smuggling, to England.[3] It was one of the earliest laces to be copied by machine- in 1833 the traverse warp machine (invented in 1811) made it for a full season, and it was sold without saying it was machine-made, at handmade prices, with no one the wiser.[1] By 1840 blonde lace was out of favor.[3]

Spanish blonde lace[edit]

There was a lot of blonde lace made in Spain, mostly in the Catalonia region, and especially in Barcelona.[3] It had all the same qualities as blonde lace made elsewhere, with very large flowers. It was used mainly for mantillas and scarfs and became part of the archetypical image of a Spanish lady.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Earnshaw, Pat (February 1999). A Dictionary of Lace. Dover. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-486-40482-X. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b Raffel, Marta Cotterell (January 2003). The Laces of Ipswich: The Art and Economics of an Early American Industry, 1750-1840. UPNE. p. 151. ISBN 1-58465-163-6. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Palliser, Bury (November 1984). History of Lace. Dover Publications. p. 88. ISBN 0-486-24742-2. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  4. ^ a b c d Powys, Marian (March 2002). Lace and Lace Making. Dover Publications. p. 31. ISBN 0-486-41811-1. Retrieved 2008-05-16. Worked with a heavy soft flat thread, the flowers stand out with great effect. 
  5. ^ Blum, Clara M. (June 2002). Old World Lace: A Concise Illustrated Guide. Dover. p. 64. ISBN 0-486-42150-3. Retrieved 2008-05-16.